Recently in Phoenix, a 4-year-old boy was bit in the face by his neighbor’s dog. Now the debate is whether or not the dog should be put down.
In Arizona, dogs do not get “one free bite”; owners are held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs’ actions. This means that an injured party under certain circumstances does not need to prove negligence or fault by the dog’s owner in order to recover an award for damages. Liability is also imposed without regard to an owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. Under this premise, dog owners (or responsible parties) are responsible for the damages caused by their dog regardless of a showing of fault, unless there is a valid affirmative defense – which is usually specific to the facts of each case.
Additionally, a person who owns or who is responsible for the care of an aggressive dog must control the dog in a manner that prevents the dog from biting or attacking a person or domestic animal at all times while the dog is off the owner’s or responsible person’s property. Even if the dog is on a leash the owner is still responsible for controlling the dog.
This little boy is undergoing major reconstructive surgery, and must endure a lifetime of pain and scaring. Unfortunately, this article seems to minimize his suffering, and it makes the dog the victim instead of the 4-year-old boy. The fate of the dog is now in the hands of Animal Control.
Dog bites are serious and cause physical and emotional scaring. For more information on dog bites, please see our dog bite page.